Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bean Balls Revisited and Granola

Yeah I slacked off for a day, sorry about that!  I did do some cooking yesterday.  Well, some experimental cooking and baking to be precise.  First of all I wanted to muck with VCON's Bean Ball recipe.  Specifically, I wanted brown rice to be added and to leave out the Vital Wheat Gluten.   It's a very basic recipe and I prepared it 4 different ways.  On the top and right, the balls were baked with the top being rolled in cornmeal.  On the bottom and left, the balls were fried in about 1/4 inch of Olive Oil, the one on the left was rolled in cornmeal.  

The results?  The fried ones on the bottom, not rolled in cornmeal were the best!  I popped one in my mouth and almost groaned audibly (ok, I did).  The baked ones were gross, but I think that was because of the non-stick spray.  The spray burnt a bit and I think the balls soaked up that smell/flavor.  The cornmeal coated and fried balls were ok, but the cornmeal made them have serious issues with holding together (I wouldn't recommend making them this way).  Over all, it was a good experiment.  They all would have issues holding together in a sauce, so you would have to add them at the end (probably why VCON uses the VWG).  Oh, and next time, I'm making these into 'cutlets' and frying them in a very thin layer of oil.  Yum!

Experimental Beany Rice Balls

1 can (540 ml) Black Beans
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast (optional)
1/2 cup uncooked Brown Rice
1 cube Beef-style Vegan Bouillon
1/2 to 1 cup Bread Crumbs
Seasoning of your choice (I used some Italian Seasoning)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook rice using your preferred cooking method, but add the Bouillon to the cooking water.  Mash beans, not pureed, in a medium bowl.  Add to beans,  your seasoning, Nutritional Yeast, Salt & Pepper, and cooked Rice.  Mix well and add enough Bread Crumbs until you have a very stiff batter.

Form small balls out of the batter (no bigger than a quarter).  You will probably have to rinse your hands often as the dough gets quite sticky.  Cook either in oil on the stove, or in the oven on a greased baking sheet until browned.



I've been wanting to try the Breakfast Bars recipe from Lady's Vegan blog, and finally got around to it.  I used only almonds as the only nut ingredient (cause nuts here are expensive) and organic blueberries as the only fruit.  I thought I was getting a bargain--who knew organic blueberries are like $8 per pound?!

Just a quick question, does everyone have some super-secret way to chop nuts?  I laid mine out on the cutting board and quite dubiously eyed the lot of them.  I raised the knife and 'chopped' .  Nuts went flying every which way!  The baby cat had a heyday chasing after the lot of them.   :)  I eventually just used a soup can to crush about 6-7 at a time.  But if you have an easier way that doesn't involve a food processor, please let me know.

Anyway, in spite of my modifications, this recipe was really tasty.  Unfortunately I couldn't get the granola to form bars, but it was my fault as I deviated from the recipe.  I think adding the 1 1/2 cups of coconut did it in.  :)   Or it could have been using maple syrup with only 25% 'maple syrup'.  How do they get away with even calling it Maple Syrup in the first place?  

Anyways, this was VERY tasty and I have been snacking on it all week.  Thanks Lady Vegan!


Georgia said...

Glad you liked the bars. Sorry they didn't stick together - Is agave cheaper where you are (I use agave because maple is ridiculously expensive here too). Maybe increase the egg replacer. This is a warning that I shouldn't get too excited with the coconut next time I make them ;)

The bean balls look good. I have been eyeing off the VCON one for a while but I like the idea of rice in them. Maybe instead of the wheat gluten you could use some egg replacer with the rice to get it to stick together?? Just a thought. I like that you tried all the different styles at the same time and compared.

Agnes said...

I love coconut in granola.

I always placed my nuts in a plastic baggie and take the rolling pin to 'em. (That sounds bad, doesn't it.) I don't hit/beat them. More like crush/crunch/press. I have a food processor and a mini food processor and a blender, but I don't bother using those. I do use a coffee grinder if I want to grind nuts very fine.

Reni said...

Georgia, yeah I'll have to find some agave. You'd think that in Canada maple syrup would be cheap, eh?

Agnes, thanks for the tip. I feel like a dolt for not thinking of that! I have a food processor, but it is in storage at the moment. I can't wait until I'll be able to use it again!